Cologne And Coming Of Age

I’ve seen it coming for a while now. My eldest son for the last year has been hanging around an older (by a couple years) girl in our complex, gotten taller, thinned out, increased pimple production and gotten a little more “lippy.” And then it happened… he asked for Axe Body spray. But it didn’t stop there, he wanted cologne. The change is upon him and I’ve met it with glee though I can’t say that my wife has been absolutely gleeful about this change. I’ve had to “get in his chest” a little because he’s gotten a little more “lippy” with her as he’s begun feeling his testosterone rise.

The Mood Monster

My wife couldn’t understand it at first and was getting quite frustrated with his “chest pounding” behavior until I explained it like this, “Love… remember when [our daughter] first got her ‘visitor’ and she was moody and generally annoying, but you had to remind me to be cognizant of the weeks when ‘the visitor’ was in town so I could be extra patient with her?” To which she, of course, nodded. “Well our son now has a ‘visitor’ of his own. The difference is that this one doesn’t come and go once a month but violently comes smashing into his life around this time and sticks around through his twenties or later. He will, in time, learn to control these new found powers but for now you will have to give him the same patience I had to learn with [our daughter].” Problem solved. She got it. I don’t think that a lot of moms understand that when boys go through puberty it can cause just as jarring a change in mood and personality as it does for daughters. In both cases it is up to us parents to help guide our children through how they handles the sudden surges of happiness, sadness, aggression, etc. And it is up to moms and dads to be each other’s support system because neither of us really knows what it was like to grow up as the other sex so being able to rely on your spouse to help fill in the blanks for you is so important!

Now back to that cologne!

I want to take the opportunity with my son to make many of these experiences “rite of passage” opportunities since we really don’t have that for boys in American culture like, oh, the Masai warriors who get to kill a lion, or my Jewish brothers whose sones will get a Bar Mitvah. So, when my son asked for cologne, I subtly made it a big deal. Oxymoron, I know but what I did was, without making a big outward fuss emotionally and verbally, I did something I new would be a big deal for him. I told him that I was going to take him to the mall to a store that had a Men’s Department like Macy’s or Bloomingdales and would take him cologne shopping. The delight in his eyes and “puff” in his chest was apparent. And shortly thereafter, we did. It was definitely an experience and the fine, jolly gentleman behind the counter whisked my son and I away on a tour of Men’s cologne even giving us a tutorial on how French fragrances were superior to others because they are higher quality and last longer after application. Oh, and in case you were wondering after looking at the image above…. HECK NO! I did not buy my tween a $74 dollar bottle of cologne. But, I did buy him the $20 deodorant that goes with it! You know… for the those special nights out days at school when he really wants to impress a gal.

Our next rite of passage trip? The shooting range. He asked. “Why am I taking him,” you ask? Well, that’s a topic for another post.

About Tshaka Armstrong

Tshaka Armstrong is the husband to one awesome wife, dad to three awesome children. On any given day you may find him posting internet & tech family safety info here and on his personal blog, or chatting with his tweeps when he's not dadvocating here. Join in the conversation, drop a line, share a joke and join him in encouraging each other to be awesome!